The WSOP, or World Series of Poker, is without a doubt the world's greatest poker tournament. It's where reputations are made, built and maintained and can turn a player into an instant millionaire. The tournament is held, as you might expect, in the gaming capital of the world, Las Vegas.
It all began in 1970 and was set up by Benny Binion as a fun tournament between him and a few buddies. His dream was to bring together the best poker players in the world to see who came out on top - and this is what it's all about. Binion was a real Las Vegas legend - he helped build the city into the gaming mecca it is today and his casino, Benny Binion's Horseshoe, become synonymous with the WSOP as a whole.
Boy, has the tournament grown since its humble beginnings! WSOP is now the premier international poker event of the year that attracts players from all over the world and is broadcast globally. Every serious poker player (and your average amateur!) dreams of playing in the tournament, of winning games there and even of becoming World Champion!
Contrary to popular opinion, anyone can apply to play in the WSOP tournament - you just need to be over 21 and to have the necessary buy-in fee. And, this isn't just a game for the big professional boys. In 2003 the World Championship was won by an amateur player, Chris Moneymaker (and yes, this is his real name!). He won the highest tournament win ever at that time of $2.5 million - all from a $40 online poker tournament win! Not a bad return in the end!
Players have to come up with up to $10,000 to enter the tournament. But, this doesn't necessarily have to come out of your own pocket. You can also be bumped into winning a place via satellite tournaments and you can even win a place by playing in online games. So, you really can use your skills and experience to earn a place here with the crème de la crème.
Some players raise finance for their buy-in by selling them as 'shares'. So they gather their buy-in fees from various places and commit to paying it back as a percentage of any winnings they make. It's a gamble but with millions of dollars in pots available for winning players it can certainly pay off!
The thing any player wants to win at WSOP is the overall title of World Champion. This can set you up for life and put your name firmly down in history as a true great on the poker wall of fame. There isn't a bigger achievement in the poker world.
The tournament plays all types of poker games including doubles games and specific games for women players. Take the pot at any of the tournament's games and you'll be told you're the 'bracelet' winner. Every game winner at WSOP is given a solid gold tournament bracelet as a memento (as well as large sums of cash!). The current record number of bracelet wins is nine - which is a lot of jewelry to be wearing!